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Thousands flock to CTV Edmonton open house
Published Sunday, May 24, 2009 12:41PM MDT
About 3,000 people visited CTV Edmonton on Saturday for an open house designed to showcase the station and highlight the difficulties faced by local television.
The lineup curved around the Stony Plain Road building Saturday as local residents met CTV personalities, toured the studios, learned about the station's rich history, and checked out other bits of broadcasting technology.
Members of CTV Edmonton's dedicated audience not only came out to show their support, but also to share what the station means to them.
"What CFRN News has done over the years is bring valuable information to all of the city of Edmonton and to surrounding areas and without it we would be lost," said CTV Edmonton viewer Barb Ursu.
Similar events were held Saturday at CTV and 'A' stations across Canada to outline the plight facing local television stations.
Canadian broadcasters are currently at odds with the CRTC over their ability to develop new revenue streams to support local programming.
CTVglobemedia and Canwest Global have said they would like to charge cable and satellite companies for carrying their channels, as is done with US and specialty channels.
However, companies like Shaw Cable aren't willing to change their policy.
"We're not going to negotiate a fee that's charged to our consumers for services that are not discretionary," said Ken Stein, the communications Senior Vice President of Shaw Cable.
To protect consumers, CTV is calling for a review of how cable and satellite companies bundle and bill consumers for the TV channels they choose.
CTV is asking the CRTC to allow the company to collect 50 cents a subscriber from cable and satellite providers. It is estimated that the so called 'fee for carriage' would boost broadcasters' revenues by about $300 million.
"I don't think it's fair that the cable companies are like 'Hey we're going to broadcast your stuff without paying you,'" said Hayley MacDonald, a CTV Edmonton viewer.
The possibility of local news disappearing also had Edmonton City Councillors showing their support.
"The fact that we could be seeing local coverage getting pulled across Canada is a real concern for me, not just as a politician, but as somebody who wants to get information, as a mother, as a person who's living in the community," said councilor Kim Krushell.
However, Canada's largest cable and satellite companies have filed a formal complaint to the CRTC over CTV's "Save Local TV" campaign.
Phil Lind, vice chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., says the campaign violates the Broadcasting Act because it's "unbalanced" and violates respected journalistic principles.
However, CTV says the campaign is in full compliance of federal regulations and the network is overwhelmed by the response it's getting from viewers.
- Click here to sign a petition in support of CTV's Save Local campaign